Tag: salvation

Jun 15 Bring Salvation to all

Jesus breaks chainsFather, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth.  In Acts, this was just beginning.  Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith.

For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter.  And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles.  Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them!   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth.

Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care.  Draw them back to You.  Return to them the joy of their salvation.  Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

They have been living under the lies and deceitful influences of the world, the flesh, and the evil one.  Break their chains and set them free to love You again!

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“  I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore.  Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

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Jun 12 Thank You

“O Lord, hear my voice.  Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with You there is forgiveness.”

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Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer.  Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once.

I never have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me.  Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again.  People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others.  But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness.  And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.”  Its promises are true.  Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption.  Turn their hearts back to You.  Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed.  Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You.  Help them see that You alone can redeem them.  I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation.  Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

May 11 Meeting needs abundantly

Consider the great love of the LORD !

They:                                                              But God:

Wandered in desert wastelands with no place, no home; hungry, thirsty, fading

 

Led them by a direct path to a city with a place for home, good food and drink, revitalized them

 

Depressed, prisoners, suffering in chains, in bitterness rejected the Lord

 

Freed them, broke their chains, brought them out of darkness and gloom, loved them
Rebelled in foolishness bringing suffering upon themselves, dying

 

Healed them, saved their lives
Sought adventure and wealth, befallen by tragedy, discouraged, lost

 

Delivered from distress, calmed storms, provided safety, brought them home
Were needy Blessed them, lifted out of their affliction, increased their numbers, fed them

 

Imagine what He is willing to do for you !!  And me!!   Amen

Psalm 107:1-43

May 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose.  You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi.   Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman; something a respectable Jew would not have done.  And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation.  Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family.  Wherever I was, You were there with me: Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado.  All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me.  Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God.  But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them.

You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring the loved ones I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part.  I can pray for them.  I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad.  I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.

Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue.   Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You.  Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name!  Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

May 1 I believe

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

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In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves!

You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You.  You are the Only Way.  Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware.  You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God.  He saw the Spirit rest on You so he could know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John.  They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed.  Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save.  But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call.

I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation, but there are so many who do not.

Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin.  That penalty is death, eternal separation from You.  You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John.

Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples.

Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible.

Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them.  Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation.  And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You.  Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I can’t wait!  Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 27 Your attention, Your abundance

O Jesus.  How hard it is to read of the awful beatings, the unfair treatment and the terrible crucifixion You endured.  I cannot even imagine the pain You suffered and the overwhelming agony.

golgotha-1863767_640So many around You were unsympathetic and called for Your death.  Yet even in the midst of all this, You were concerned with others.

When they crucified You, You called out for their forgiveness.  And even as You were dying, You were not too busy to listen to the petition of one of Your hurting children, the man on the cross next to You.

He asked only that You remember him, and You gave him paradise.

Father, You are like that with me.

You hold the whole world together by Your power: the earth, the stars, the solar system.  The motion of the seas is in Your hand, every storm, every person on the earth, not even a sparrow falls without Your awareness.  Yet You are never too busy to hear my cry, my prayer, my thanks.

Thank You, that I can come to You at any time and have Your attention.

And You always give more than You are asked.

The thief asked for remembrance, You gave him paradise.

Your mercy and grace overflows.  Your lavish abundance is so great.  Many times I ask for something and You blow me away with Your generosity and graciousness.

And even when the answer is no, or wait, I can trust that You have my best in mind.  Thank You for knowing even better than I, what I need.  And for providing it.

The thief said “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.”  It is the same with me.  My deeds deserve death.   Only Your blood pays the penalty for my sin, and awards me life, not death.

Thank You for enduring death on a cross, so that I can walk with You in eternity.  Thank You Father, for paradise.   Amen

Luke 23:25-43

 

Apr 2 Lord of the Harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding.  I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant.  As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier.  When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest.  You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom.

People grow and mature also.  You “harvest” us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; and believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord.  When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news.  One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged.  It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the “harvesting.”

Father, help me be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them.  Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest.  Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

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He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence.  He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again.

There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure.  There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior.  And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned.  He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver.

And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like.  The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life.  He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust.  He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me.

He has forgiven my sin.

He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds!  How great is His power!  Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me.  Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

 

 

 

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here.  Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You.  We ask for healing from physical ailments.  We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.

We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior.  Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal.   You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You.  Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication.  David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him.

I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness.  Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness.  Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.

Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us.  And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing.  Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Feb 20 In the storms

i-know-notFather, so many times I act just like the disciples in the boat during the storm.

I choose to focus on the storm around me.  In the face of the strong winds, the high waves, the tossing of the boat, I look at the opposition, the circumstances that block my way, and the hopelessness of things turning out right.

All the time forgetting Your promises of protection.  Even though I know You are there with me, I do not see how You are at work in the situation, and I cry out to stir You to my cause.   “Lord, don’t You care…?”

Many times, I can almost hear You say the same words to me that You spoke then; “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”

Sometimes You do calm the wind and still the waves.  Other times You simply hold me in Your arms while the waves buffet me.  And sometimes You inspire me and increase my faith with a vision of future calm waters and blue skies, reassuring me that it will be all right.

Thank You for being with me in the storms.  Thank You for speaking to me in songs, scriptures, promises, and visions.

Thank You for the truths You give me in Psalm 37: “My salvation comes from the Lord; You are my stronghold in time of trouble.  You help me and deliver me; and save me. Because I take refuge in You.”  Amen

Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 37:39-40

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin.

This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it.  Then, when they become aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed in a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death.  These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty.  Death is the penalty.  The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord!  You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news.  There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin!  The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world.  All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep,”  You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  For within You is the fountain of life.

And when I have You, I have life!   Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Jan 31 Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creationsTwo blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them. What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening.

I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty.

I enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!

For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan!

stained-glass-1626287_1280You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life.

He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God.

When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright”, that “Your ways are loving and faithful.” And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame.”

Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13; Psalm 25:1-15

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

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Lord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?

You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…”

And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief.”

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or display too much emotion and not enough “getting on board” with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map to show him where our trail would take us.

I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed him one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.”

And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.”

I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-22; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

Jan 2 Keep me from “Serpent speak”

O Father, Proverbs tells me “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Lord, I do not wish to be a fool.  Help me keep my sense of awe and respect for You.  I yearn for Your wisdom and instruction.  Keep me teachable and open to hear Your voice and see Your wonders.

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I completely acknowledge You as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. You alone possess the Sovereignty and Authority and Power to rule over and be Lord over all.

What an infinite imagination to think up all the combinations of flowers, birds, animals and insects!  And not just how they look, but how they sound, and smell!  I am amazed by You!

Surely, Eve must have been amazed by You too; walking in the Garden of Eden that You created!  Yet she gave in to temptation.   She listened to the serpent speak and was deceived. (And I’m still blown away that she didn’t seem surprised at all that a serpent was speaking!)

When the serpent misquoted You, she did not check it out.  And when he told a half-truth, that she would “be like” You, she believed it.  She trusted what she understood with her own eyes and logic instead of coming to You.

Father, do not let me make this mistake.

When I hear a voice tempting me with something You have already spoken about, help me remember what You’ve said.  If I do not, remind me to come to You for direction.  Keep me from rushing to accept what is said without checking it out.  Let me be wise to the tactic of using just enough truth to sound right as a scheme to derail me.

Lord, do not let me be misled by falsehoods or half-truths.

It is not just the voice of the evil one, but also this world and my own flesh that lead me down a wrong path, away from You.  Many temptations lure me to be more or have more than I am, playing into greed or pride, a sense of self-importance, inflated ego, fame or fortune.  But as seen here, this temptation was only half true, and had a huge price.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”  This sounds like she was being perfectly logical, if it weren’t for the fact that You had already told her it was wrong!

Sometimes I can logically think my way into a wrong answer too.  Remind me, Father, to come to You, to seek Your perspective above all others.  Whether considering an opportunity, or dealing with a hardship: if there seems to be wisdom the world offers, or a logic to my mind, or a sense in my flesh, let me submit them all to You.

And thank You Father, that even when I make mistakes and sin; as with Adam and Eve, You have shed Your blood and covered me.  You have made a way for me to be back in fellowship with You, forever.  You are amazing!  Amen

Genesis 3:1-24; Proverbs 1:7-9

Dec 25 God in flesh

Father, John tells of a day when Your wrath will be poured out upon the earth.  After the seven seals are broken with their judgments, and the seven trumpets sound with their disasters, then the seven bowls of Your wrath will be given to angels to pour out upon the earth.  And then,  “out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” 

Your ultimate judgment will be carried out.  “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, You who are and who were…true and just are Your judgments.”

I do not know when that day will come.  But I trust in Your righteousness.  And I trust in Your timing.  And if I am alive then, I will rejoice in that day.

20161223_231820Today, however, is a day of a different kind of rejoicing.  Although it is not historically accurate, it is the day chosen and set aside to remember and celebrate when You came to earth to bring salvation!

It is the day believers all over the world celebrate the day You clothed Yourself in the flesh of a tiny babe.  You gave up all the glory and splendor of heaven to be with people here on earth.  You submitted Yourself to the frailties of flesh to be an example to everyone, of how to live, and how to love.

You brought Your love to earth in a way people could see and follow.

Today: a remembrance and celebration of the love You poured out on earth.

One day in the future: of Your judgment poured out on earth.

I am truly blessed to be alive between the two.  I can experience the salvation You brought.  I can live in the love You showed, and be inspired to live my life as a reflection of that love.

Father, help me follow Your example.

As You poured out Your love and sacrifice, bringing salvation to earth, let me show a bit of that unconditional love to those around me.  Let me be show kindness, patience, support, being generous with all You have given to me.

One day You will “Part Your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.   Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.”  For now, “You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge”.

And I am blessed.  Thank You.  Amen

Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-8

 

Dec 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a reset button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.”  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon: satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now to “lead the whole world astray.”

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short.”

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked.”  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know sometimes I don’t make wise choices and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.

And other times, I feel attacked; caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle.”  Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.

Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”  awaiting Your “end game.”   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

“You are the Living God and You endure forever; Your kingdom will not be destroyed, Your dominion will never end.  You rescue and You save; You perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.  You have rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

Daniel lion den

O Father, do for me what You did for Daniel!  When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies!  Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end.  Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies.

Let me be like Daniel.   Make me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate.  Help me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You!

He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years.  He remained a man of integrity and faith.  Even those jealous of his position found him to be “trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”.  Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged.  As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire.  But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand.

As I await this day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life.

In the Words of the Psalmist: “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me…Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.” 

Father, this is how I can live the life I desire.  With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge.  Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-18; Psalm 119:133-135

Nov 7 New Covenant for Eternity

Father, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration.

You made a way of atonement for them.  Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people.

dawn eternity

You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are.  We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant.  What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come.  You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices.  What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest!  You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow.  The reality of what made the shadow of the old covenant, is when You, Yourself became my High Priest when You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people”.

It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me!  I have You in me, as the Holy Spirit.

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me!  Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly.  Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example of worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle.  I long for the day when I will see You in all Your glory.  When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord.  And I will praise You forever!  Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

Nov 4 Trust the plan

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Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile.  And when You brought judgment on the remnant.

You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well.

Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect.  But I completely trust You.

You may not give me visions like Ezekiel.  You may not exile me from my home.  You may not use another nation to exact my liberation.  But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it.  Open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You have for me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in a direction that may or may not be Yours.  Help me let go of what I think I should be doing for You.

Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to.  Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Help me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You.  Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21

Nov 2 Don’t miss it!

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Don’t let us miss the message today like the people in Ezekiel’s time – but give us wisdom and discernment to recognize Your truth, and apply it to our lives…

Father, what You had Ezekiel do seems so hard.  Surely people must have thought he was crazy!  And yet, his strange behavior was an exact representation of all that would happen to Jerusalem!

He obeyed You so he would be a warning to the people.  But the people did not pay attention or return to You.  It makes me wonder about prophetic messages You are sending today, that no one is taking seriously…

Today, the good news is still being proclaimed!  But there are those who hear and it is “of no value to them, because they do not share the faith…”

Father, open their ears!   Soften their hearts!   Do not allow them to be swept away by believing the lies and deception of the evil one!

“Your Word is active and alive.”  It’s truth can set people free from the darkness and deceit of the world and the evil one.  It can show them the way to go, and how to turn from evil desires.  Father, You can give them the strength to walk away from what they have known, and toward what is right; because you, Yourself, have walked this path of flesh!

Thank You that in Your  humanness, You empathize with my weaknesses.   And thank You that You have invited me to “approach Your throne of grace with confidence…” in boldness, knowing I will “receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.”  Your amazing grace provides me with forgiveness and eternal salvation.

Father, help me hear Your truth when You speak it to me.

Thank You for providing all that I need in my times of need.  Thank You that You know what I need even before I do!  Amen

Ezekiel 4:1-5:4; Hebrews 4:1-16

Oct 30 Great is Your faithfulness

Father, Jeremiah continues here, not only beginning each stanza with successive letters of the Hebrew alephbet, but each verse within the stanza begins with the same letter!

Still, the outpouring of the description of all this suffering continues.  There are vivid word pictures and comparisons that describe personal devastation.

hai-hoa-beach-2162144_640Yet, in the middle of all of this, come the words fashioned into a famous hymn.  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Even in the midst of this harsh punishment, Jeremiah reflects on Your goodness.  And instructs the people:  “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say; ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’.”   It’s the same today.  Father, You seek the lost and the rebellious.  You still hold out salvation for them.  They need only come to You.

But there will be a time when it is too late.  When You will surely punish.

O Father, turn the hardened hearts back to You before it is too late!

In Jeremiah’s day, You spoke through prophets.  But now You speak through Yourself.  You walked the earth as Jesus Christ.  There are people who are heavy on my heart now, who need You.  Speak to these who need You in their lives.  Show me how to encourage them toward You without being harassing or pushy.

Bring someone into their lives who they will listen to.  Use circumstances in their lives to get their attention directed to You.  Convict their hearts that they need a Savior.  Draw back the veil of lies and deceit they have been believing.  Or they will “walk in darkness rather than the light”…they will be “dragged from the path and mangled and left without help”. 

Your love for them is clear.  Your compassion is renown.  Your faithfulness is great.  I rely on all these Lord, and totally trust in You!  Amen

Lamentations 3:1-66; Hebrews 1:1-4

Oct 27 Yours is the power

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“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.

 When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth. You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from Your storehouses.”

“You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.”

Father, You are the One.  The Only.  You are forever my Creator and Savior.  And no one and no thing can stand against You.  No power, ruler, or authority.  Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it.  What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns!  “Let the nations tremble.”  Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth.  Nothing will be able to stand against You.  And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon.  And You delivered.  But You had an even greater deliverance in mind.  “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all.  And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

Father, You purified me with Your blood.  You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live.  Help me live as Yours.  Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-19; Psalm 99:1-3; Titus 2:11-14

 

 

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me.

But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people.

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What a huge task!  It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet!  For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people.  So I pray first for all children.  Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them.  Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You.

Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse.  Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You.  Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.   Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.   Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, give every mother a heart for her child.  Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; and teach them about You.  Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father.  Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family.  Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love.  Do not let them harm or exasperate their children.  Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are.  Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion.  Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers.

Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it.  Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence.

Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces.  Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry.  Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, and people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You.  Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives.  Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them.

Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability.  If they are persecuting believers, stop them.  Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You.  Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives.  Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected Washington officials, African children, Muslim women.  All need Your touch on their lives.  Every one is someone special to You.  Every one is someone You died to save.

Let each one of them know how very much You love them.  And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives.  Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

Oct 4 Fill me!

overcoming-1697546_640“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will 

through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.   

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Father, I continually ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will: not my own or anyone else’s.  Do not let me be distracted by the glitter of what the world would show me I could do or have.  Or be swayed by trying to please others to earn their approval.

Do not let me be led astray by my own sense of pride or selfishness.  But give me a true understanding of how You have created me, with specific gifts, talents, personality and temperament, and how You would use those to accomplish Your will through my life.

Lord, would You do this through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives: not the wisdom of the world, or the logic of the mind, or the sense of the flesh.  For these are the influences that so often affect my mind and decisions.

I seek the wisdom that Your Spirit gives through Your Word in scripture, and in prayer and meditation as I open my ears and heart and spirit to You alone.  Close my ears to all other sources that would seek to lead me away from You and Your purposes.

Father, give me Your strength, that comes from Your power.   Strengthen me physically when I need it.  I do not desire to do great physical feats, but Father, sometimes my energy wanes long before the end of the day or the task.  And as I age, I can feel weakness creeping into my body.  Fortify my organs and my immune system to function according to how You created them to function.

Lord, I also need Your support mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  Empower me in all these areas with Your strength working in and through me.

Father, I ask for these gifts so that I may live the life You died to give me; pleasing You, doing good works that will bring glory to Your name.  And that I would accomplish these in Your power and in Your timing.  This will help me know You better and deepen our relationship.

I offer up sincere thanks and praises with total joy, as a beloved and blessed child of Yours.  Amen

Colossians 1:1-17

 

 

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return!

You bring reward to Your people.  You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future.  And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth.

Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track.  I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences.

They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values.  And I wonder: Do You see?  Do You see what is happening in Your world?  The one You created so carefully?  So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises.  I trust Your plan.  And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.   

Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.   My flesh and my heart may fail,  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.”

Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You!  Thank You!  Amen

Isaiah 62:8-12; 65:8-25; Psalm 73:1-28

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

note-152133_640Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest.  And was not acceptable to You.  You told them how to behave to be blessed.  Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You.  And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord.  My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me.  I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way.  That sounds a lot like “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word.  The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray.  I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving.  Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.”

As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me.  So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You!  I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit.

Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me.  Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise!  I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.”   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge.”

Thank You for these Words You sent me through David.  I can almost use them word for word to praise You.  They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express.  Thank You that You are my God.  Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

 

Sept 27 The Price of Salvation

Father, sometimes I forget all You went through in order for me to have salvation and be back in right standing and in right relationship with You.  It’s so easy to focus on my own problems and all the things that are falling short of my hopes for me, and my family members.  It must sound like childish whining compared to what You endured for my sake.

cross-106416_640Isaiah tells me You were “despised and rejected…a man of suffering, familiar with pain…

You took up our pain and bore our suffering…

were pierced for our transgressions,

crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on You, and by Your wounds, we are healed.”

And the infamous words: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and The Lord has laid  on Him, the iniquity of us all.”

So it was my doing that brought You to the place of suffering.  You endured betrayal, beating, whipping, scourging, unbelievable pain, unbearable suffering, and  crucifixion on a cross; all so I can be healed of my sin – choosing my own way.

I am so humbled.  And so ashamed.  And so very grateful.

Thank You for enduring all You did, for me.  Remind me every time I start to whine, or complain about my own problems, that in comparison, they are light and temporary trials.

Thank You that even with all You went through for me, You still love me.  You still care for me.  Remind me to approach You — not with an attitude of greediness, but with one of gratefulness.

In proving Your love so completely, I can only have faith, that whatever I face now, You will deliver me, in Your own providential, miraculous or mysterious way.

I believe that what You say You will do, You are able and capable to do.  I completely trust in Your faithfulness.  Thank You that You are my Father, my Savior, my King.  Amen

Isaiah 53:3-12

Sept 15 Blessings Old and New

Father, I thank You that You sent evangelists out both to the Jews and to the Gentiles of the time. Although the backgrounds of the two were different, and still are today, You offer salvation to both. One is not better than the other, as all Believers are equal in Christ Jesus.

Father, would You help present day Jews to see the truth of the salvation You offer, apart from their culture. Help them come to a saving knowledge of who You are, and bring them into a personal relationship with You through Jesus Christ.

And would You also show non-Jewish Believers the value and blessing to be had in the Tanakh: our Old Testament. For although the Law You gave Moses is not the basis of salvation; that comes by grace through faith in You, there is blessing for everyone in that Law.  For instance we are blessed in observing the Sabbath, and honoring our parents.

The Ten Commandments together with other Jewish writings that contain things spoken by You, are known as “Divine empowerments.”  These work to release me from bondage to sin and bring me blessing.

But too often the groups look at each other with misunderstanding and throw out even the good that would bless them. Father, teach me to embrace Your whole truth, and live according to it.

You are my God – who delivers me, who protects me, who rises up to help me against whatever enemies come against me. In this personal fight against cancer, “You are my Strength… my fortress, my loving God.”

Old Testament and New are filled with pictures of You, of Your strength, Your character. Let me revel in the whole entirety of the revelation of my Savior. I sing Your praises! Amen

Galatians 2:1-16Psalm 59:1-17

Aug 14 Do not grieve

person-joyjumpPsalm 33 tells me, “Blessed [joyful, happy] is the nation whose God is the Lord. The people He chose for His inheritance.”

When Ezra read Your Word to the Israelites assembled, they knew that You were their God and they were Your people. And today, any who believe in You as Savior are also Your people. Believers have an inheritance with You. And we are blessed as a nation when we call You our Lord.

The Israelites mourned and wept as they heard Your Word because it convicted them of their sin. As a believer, I also mourn and weep when I read Your Word, because of my own sin and the sin of my nation.

But Nehemiah told them “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In happy times it is easy for me to say this. When things are going well, I can be joyful. I feel strong. But in this context, the people are not happy. They are grieving, ashamed, broken by their sin. This is when they are told “the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

It is when I have no strength of my own because I am broken, or sad, discouraged, overwhelmed, or depressed – that I look to You and receive Your strength.

I can know that whatever is going on in my life, there is joy when I remember that You are my God, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Comforter, my Friend. Your presence gives me joy and strength. Even in the face of trials, I can look to You.

Your Psalm reminds me I will not be saved by the size of an army, or personal physical strength, or even by a mighty horse. But my hope is in You, my help and my shield. “In You my heart rejoices, for I trust in Your holy name.”

Remind me Father, the next time I am downcast, that my joy and my strength are not based on my circumstances. But are found, sure and steadfast, in You. Amen

Nehemiah 8:1-12; Psalm 33:12-22

Aug 6 I sing! for thanks, for hope, for help

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Father, “To You I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if You remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.”   They have no hope. And see no chance for rescue.

Lord, my life seems easy enough. I have what I need to get from day to day. I have food to eat and clothes to wear. I have more freedoms than most people in the world. And a safe place to live with family and friends who care about me. But when I think about some of the people I love, there is pain. There are those I don’t believe know You, and it grieves my heart.

So here is where “I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help.” Father when I think of mistakes I’ve made with people who I love, I am filled with remorse. I cannot go back and “undo” what I have done. And I wonder and worry if anything I did or said, set them on a path away from You.

O Father, forgive me. If there is a way I can make it right, show me. Take away this guilt I live with, and replace it with something from You that will heal and help them. Show me how to say, what to say, when to say; or what to do to unravel any knots I may have been part of in their lives.

Soften their hearts to Your truth, and to Yourself and to the call of the Holy Spirit.   Turn them away from the darkness they live in, some, without even realizing it. Bring them into the light of Your love. Father, this is the deepest desire of my heart: that those who You have entrusted to me as family and friends, will all know You as Savior, and be together in heaven with You and with me.

It is something only You can do. Only You call. And only You save. And I will sing: “Praise to the Lord! For He has heard my cry for mercy! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks in song”. Amen

Psalm 28:1-9

July 13 Creation Speaks

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Father, I have heard many stories of how missionaries would go into a place no ‘civilized’ man had been before, and the native people already knew of You. They had a name for You. They knew Your character. And that You are the One True God who created and rules the universe.

Even if they had never seen a Bible, a preacher, or watched the “Jesus” film, they already knew of Your love and Your sacrifice for them and their sin. They understood their need of a Savior to be in restored relationship with You.

When I read Romans, it becomes clear that this is part of Your plan. You are not dependent on modern methods to spread Your Gospel, the Good News.

When I first saw “Jesus Christ Superstar”, I resonated with the line in the song “if You’d come today You could have reached a whole nation. Israel in 4BC had no mass communication”.   Meaning that if You had waited, You could have had world wide coverage of the event. Practically everyone in the world could have watched Your birth, life, death and resurrection on CNN or a televised reality show. But that wasn’t Your plan.

Paul writes such long and wordy sentences that it’s sometimes hard to follow. But I’m understanding from him that it is not in Your character to judge someone who is unaware of who You are. So to be just, You have given everyone the knowledge of truth. Paul is saying that You are judging people who know You but intentionally suppress the truth of who You are.

They know this, because You have made it plainly clear to them. Ever since You created the world, You used that creation to display and clearly reveal Your eternal power and Divine Nature. That means man is without excuse! There is no reason, when seeing this world and all that’s in it, anyone could deny Your existence, Your character, or Your power.

Thank You for reaching every person with an understanding of who You are. Thank You for showing me so much of Your amazing creation.

I have seen Your majesty in the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, vast oceans, wooded valleys, mighty rushing rivers, wide meadows, sand filled deserts. I have seen Your imaginative beauty in dazzlingly colorful sunrises and sunsets, fields of vibrantly colored flowers, and in the eyes and smiles of people of all colors.

I have watched Your mighty power in thunderheads building, lightening storms flashing, tornadoes whirling, waves crashing. Your spectacular creativity is displayed in the vivid and delicate colors of nature – especially in birds and bugs. Your dizzying workings are seen in the intricacies of tree roots and human nervous and circulatory systems.

Thank You that You have made Yourself evident. And for the unimaginably beautiful and amazing way You have done it. Amen

Romans 1:18-20

June 25 Miracle Worker!

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Lord God, You never cease to amaze me! You are involved so intimately in the lives of Your people. You genuinely care for them. It gives me such hope!

 

You warned the man and woman who made a room for Elisha to leave the country to spare them from a seven-year famine. And when they returned to beg for their house and land, You orchestrated that the king who could grant their plea, had just then heard about the miracle of Elisha raising their son from the dead! The timing couldn’t have been better! They received back what they had given up to obey You, and more!

When the ruler-ship had gotten so bad; leading Your people into idolatry and doing only evil in Your eyes, You took action. You had a just and godly ruler anointed over Israel. Under Jehu, the line of Ahab was removed. The people were able to return to worshiping You.

When Your servants Paul and Silas were imprisoned, beaten, and put under special guard, You orchestrated an earthquake to free them! Even more, You allowed them to work in the lives of their enemy, sharing the Gospel with their jailer, and bringing salvation to him and his family!

How can I doubt that You, who have done all this on behalf of Your people, will do the same for me? How can I think that my problems are beyond Your help? You, who control earthquakes and famines, kings and jailers!

I am Your servant, Lord. So I cry to You for mercy. I rely on Your character of faithfulness and righteousness to defeat the enemy that pursues me and crushes me to the ground.

Even when circumstances discourage me, and cause my spirit to grow faint and my heart to be dismayed, I remember these and other works of deliverance. I meditate on all You have done and consider the power in Your hands.

And I know, without a doubt, that You will preserve me in Your righteousness. And that I am Yours forever. Amen

2 Kings 8:1-6; 9:1-13; Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 143:1-12

June 15 Bring Salvation to All!

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Father, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth. In Acts, this was just beginning. Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith.

 

 

For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter. And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles. Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them!   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth.

Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care. Draw them back to You. Return to them the joy of their salvation. Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

They have been living under the lies and deceitful influences of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. Break their chains and set them free to love You again!

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“ I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore. Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

June 12 Thank You

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“O Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness.”

Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer. Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once. I don’t have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me. Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again. People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others. But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness. And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.” Its promises are true. Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption. Turn their hearts back to You. Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed. Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You. Help them see that You alone can redeem them. I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation. Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

May 27 Your Peace

jesuslookingatworld-975x1005Father, thank You that in these verses You are speaking to me plainly.   Thank You that You stand outside of time. You can see the end even before the beginning has happened.

Before You laid the foundation of the earth, You knew the people You would create would turn away from You, and would require the sacrifice only You could make. Thank You for the plan You put in place for my salvation and reconciliation with You.

The events You prepared Your disciples for were not the end. You told them what would happen so they would have peace. Not peace in their circumstances, but peace knowing who You were, and in the Holy Spirit You would send to comfort and teach them.

Even now is not the end! In these verses, You looked even farther forward to see when You overcome the world! So I, too, can take these words to heart. I have the whole of Your Word so I can know who You are, and in my relationship with You, I can have peace whatever my circumstances. In this world, I will have trouble. But I also know that You have overcome this world! And in the end, You triumph! And because I am with You, it is my triumph too!

While I am still here though, I join with the requests of the psalmist. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, Lord. I want to make wise decisions that support Biblical values. Teach me what You desire of me. Even if the arrogant disagree and slander me, keep me true to Your teachings. Give me the understanding I need to be able to apply what Your Word says to my life and circumstances. You made me and placed me in these times, in this family, in this culture. So help me discern across time and culture, how to walk in Your truth and live righteously.

Father, comfort me with Your unfailing love. Teach me and treat me with compassion. When I am attacked or maligned, defend me.   Help me live according to all You show me in Your power and Your faithfulness. Encourage me. And give me Your peace. Amen

John 16:1-33; Psalm 119:65-80

May 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose. You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman, something a respectable Jew would not have done. And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation. Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family. Wherever I was, You were there with me, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado. All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me. Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God. But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them. You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring my loved ones who I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part. I can pray for them. I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad. I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.   Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You. Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name! Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

May 2 All His benefits

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

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O Lord, if I took a whole day, I could never list all the benefits You lavish on me. I take so many things for granted. Often I don’t even think about how every breath that I take is from You! And I should be thankful.

Beginning when I wake up in the morning, I am thankful that I do wake up! And that I can breathe clean air in a warm bed, in a secure house, with a family I love, with food to eat and clean water to drink and bathe in. I have more clothes in my closet than some people on this planet ever own in a lifetime! I have many pairs of shoes.

It is a choice for me to eat breakfast or not. And if I choose to eat, I have several options of clean, untainted food in a kitchen with running water and convenient appliances to make food preparation almost effortless. My fridge keeps my food cold to preserve its freshness until I want it. Then, at the turn of a switch or the push of a button, I can cook it. Another button and my dishes are washed.

Just this part of my day is blessed far more than most of the people on this earth.

I live in freedom to be what I want to be, go where I want to go, with whom I want to be with. I can choose my career, my husband, my entertainment. I can worship You in the open however I want, read scripture without fear of arrest or imprisonment. I can attend public church services without being detained and beaten, or having my property seized, or my life forfeited.

When I step outside my house, I see a beautiful sky, majestic mountains, flowering trees, gorgeous flowers. We have warm, rainy, windy Springs, temperate Summers, gorgeously colored, cool Falls, and crisp, snow covered Winters – all four seasons in a beautiful and varied environment rich with birds of many kinds, singing their Spring songs and migrating south in the Fall.

On top of all this, You preserve my life, forgive my sins, deliver me from the oppression and deceit of satan. You show me love I did not earn, and pour out mercy and compassion on me I do not deserve. You satisfy my desires with good things, or remove those wrongful desires from me. You answer my prayers, guide me with Your wisdom, encourage me with Your Word, and have promised to take me into paradise with You for all eternity.

Father, help me remember every day to thank You for something. Open my eyes to things I take for granted, and accept my praise for Your goodness. Remind me at the beginning of every month, to come back and read Psalm 103 and spend time “forgetting not, all of Your benefits”. Amen

Psalm 103

May 1 I believe

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“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves! You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You. You are the Only Way. Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

 

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware. You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God. He saw that Spirit rest on You and could then know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John. They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed. Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save. But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call. It is my choice to accept Your salvation or reject it. I hear Your call and follow You. I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation. But, there are so many who do not. Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin. That penalty is death, eternal separation from You. You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John. Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples. Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible. Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them. Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation. And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You. Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I can’t wait! Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 19 Only God can make a tree…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

I am sick of waiting for some people to make good on their promises. The delays that come are hard to take. Even when I can understand there may be a good and logical reason behind postponements, it doesn’t make the waiting any easier. And when no reason is apparent, the frustration builds up and I literally feel ill.

This happens time and time again when I put my hope in people. The wondering if they will come through, the anxiousness of not knowing when things can be planned due to the uncertainty, the anticipation of desiring something but having it drag on indefinitely – all these things bring mental exhaustion and emotional collapse!

but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

camperdown-elm-316360_640When I think of all a tree provides, it is comforting.

A tree is beautiful to look at. It is sturdy and provides shelter to sit or stand under or hide behind. It’s boughs and leaves give shade from the heat. I can lean up against it, climb it, sit in it, hide in it.   Depending on the type, it’s leaves may be a balm of healing, or its fruit may be nourishment.  A tree of life is life giving and life sustaining.

This verse paints a beautiful picture of Your provision in a world where there can be so much disappointment.

Thank You Father, that all Your promises are true. You promise salvation and You deliver. Your mercy and grace are renewed every day. You always forgive and never leave me. All this is according to Your Word, Your promise.

Father, I place my trust, my hope in You. If I have hopes or longings that are not honoring to You, please remove them. Do not let me become sick waiting or hoping for something that is not right for me. Show me if I need to move my focus or change my perspective.

When I need to wait on Your plan or purpose, help me wait patiently, purposefully and prayerfully. And when my longings are fulfilled, remind me to thank You and give You the credit.

For all You have already done, and for all You will do, thank You Father. Amen

Proverbs 13:12

Apr 3 Your laws are our laws

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Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today. The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it. It is not merely causing a death, consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged, whether there is ‘malice aforethought’.

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral. In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible. You knew, way back then, what our society would need today. And provided for it.

But beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death. And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You. You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.  If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You. They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard. Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

Apr 2 Lord of the Harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding. I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant. As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier. When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest. You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom. People grow and mature also. You ‘harvest’ us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord. When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news. One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged. It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the ‘harvesting’.

Father, help me to be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them. Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest. Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

kneeling-1989128_640He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence. He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again. There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure. There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior. And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned. He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver. And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like. The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life. He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust. He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me. He has forgiven my sin. He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds! How great is His power! Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me. Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 19 God’s Plan

feastsoverviewThese amazing assemblies that You had the Israelites learn and observe Lord, are more than just feasts and festivals for celebration’ sake. They are the blueprint of Your plan for salvation and will play out to the end of the age, the end of the earth.   They have meaning in themselves, but are also prophetic of what is to come.

As Passover commemorates Your deliverance of the Israelites from death, by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts – Jesus IS that Passover Lamb. His blood allows me to be delivered from eternal death: separation from You.

Firstfruits being offered to the Lord show that the Israelites trust the Lord to bring in the rest of the harvest – Jesus IS the firstfruit of the risen! He was dead and is now alive, just as all who believe and die will rise to eternal life with Christ.

The Festival of Weeks is 50 days after Firstfruits. It celebrates the bringing in of the first harvest –50 days after Jesus rose there was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost.

The Feast of Trumpets called Israel together to prepare for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later. It is not tied to any historical event in Israel’s past.   And thus has not yet been fulfilled.   Believers look to the book of Revelation: when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to call the living and the dead to rise for eternal judgment.

Father, how amazing that You laid out this plan, all before the foundations of the earth. You knew all that it would take to reconcile Your people to You after sin entered the world. And You have laid the groundwork for my understanding of what has happened, and what is to come, in these festivals and holy days.

Thank you that You reveal Your plan to man. Thank You that Your plan is good and true; and that I can trust You to have the sovereignty and power to make it so.  Help me be mindful of the fullness of my history as a believer, both in the Old and New Testaments. And prepare me for all that is to come. Reveal Your plan to me for my life, and lend me Your strength to be obedient to it. Amen

Numbers 28:16-29:40

Mar 11 From beginning to end

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Thank You Lord is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

But when You return victoriously with a trumpet sound and a shout, You will judge the living and the dead and Your world will be free of sin again. I n creating a new heaven and a new earth You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here. Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You. We ask for healing from physical ailments. We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.   We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior. Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal. You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You. Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication. David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him. I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness. Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness. Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.  Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us. And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing. Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. For within You is the fountain of life! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

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Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples. May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word. You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me. Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life. Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or the way that seems logical. I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and others I know. Let me be bold about sharing those experiences, and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me. You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid. You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You. I delight in Your salvation.” I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You. I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.” Thank You for being my Savior. Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

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What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan! You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life. He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God. When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright”, that “Your ways are loving and faithful”. And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame”. Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13Psalm 25:1-15

Jan 29 All things are Possible

possible-410241_1280Father, thank You for the example of the young man of great wealth who came asking Jesus how to be saved. He was seeking salvation by means of things he could do. Jesus named several commandments and the man acknowledged he had done those things. But he pressed on, “What do I still lack?”

When Jesus responded for him to sell all his possessions and follow Him, it wasn’t the money He needed. It was to be first in the man’s heart. But the man misunderstood and went away sad.

Father, I understand that it is not outward behaviors that earn me salvation. What You desire refers to the condition of my heart – whether You are my first love, my King, Messiah, Savior. I can never be good enough or totally free from sin. So You came and died on the cross, paying the penalty for my sin, providing salvation for me and everyone else in the world who would accept this free gift.

That is why when the disciples asked “Who then can be saved ?” , the answer was, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” You have made the salvation of the world possible

“You are the King of glory. You are strong and mighty. You are mighty in battle. You are the Lord God Almighty.” And I am in awe of You. Thank You for drawing near to me. Thank You that in Your power, You care for and love each one of Your creations. I praise You that in Your unfathomable greatness, You are a personal Father who leans down know me intimately. I am amazed by You.

Matthew 19:16-30: Psalm 24:8

 

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-foxLord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?

You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough “getting on board” with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map to show him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed him one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.” And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

Jan 22 What was dead is alive!

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Holy Father, I cannot even imagine the depth of joy Israel must have felt at the realization that the son he thought he had lost forever, was alive!

I cannot imagine grieving for a son for so long, dealing with a sense of loss so great that it makes you physically ill and emotionally destitute; then to discover that the object or your intense love and devotion has been resurrected and returned to you!

But You are a God of resurrection miracles! You are the One with the power of restoration! And there will be another great reunion as we see all our loved ones who love You, again, when we spend eternity together in Your presence.

It must have seemed like a miracle to Israel: Your bringing the son that was dead to him, back into fellowship and life. How awesome is Your power! You are not limited by what we have come to understand are the limits and laws of our physical world. You walked on water! You healed the sick and dying with a touch! You multiplied five pieces of bread and two fish to feed literally thousands of hungry people. And that was only during the first twenty-four hours after hearing of Your own personal loss: the death of Your cousin, John the Baptist!

Twice during that time, you withdrew to be alone to pray. How hard it must have been to remain in this physical world with all its pain and grief, suffering, sickness and evil, knowing Your true home was in heaven. You could have left it all behind in an instant.

Thank You for continuing to walk the path that would lead to Your sacrifice and the saving of mankind; rejoining us to Yourself, our heavenly Father, bridging the chasm between our sinfulness and Your holiness.

Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty!

Genesis 44:18-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36

 

 

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow…

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Oh God my Father, I too, sometimes have days where I feel like the Psalmist David who writes this prayer for help in trouble. He sings his troubles to You O Lord, as he writes this to his chief musician.

Like David, I also pour out my heart to You, Oh God. There are circumstances in my life where I feel You have turned away from me, hidden Your face from me. I cannot see You, or feel Your presence and do not know when You will act.

I pray and call out for You to make it right: for healing, for restoration, for vindication, for strength, for wisdom, for justice. I can think of challenges, troubles, where I need each of these; and You know them too, because You know all things.

There are places in my life of such hurt and frustration. They cause sorrow to fill my heart. I feel as if I have fought a battle and my enemies have defeated me. My strength is gone. I cry out for You to hear me, come to me, and lift me up. Almighty God, do not let my enemies have the victory. Do not let them say they have vanquished me with rejoicing in their camp.

Even facing all this, I trust wholeheartedly in Your mercy. I know that my salvation is sure. All else pales in the light of Your love and care for me. Whatever happens to me here on earth, I know my future in eternity is secure in You.

So I will sing to You. I will lift up Your Holy Name. I will rejoice abundantly because of what You have done for me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and that is a number that changes daily! Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Your will.

I trust in Your will completely. I trust the plans that You have for me, to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. So in You will I rest. Amen

Psalm 13: 1-6; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 2 Keep me from Serpent Speak

snake-1322240_1920O Father, Proverbs tells me “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lord, I do not wish to be a fool. Help me keep my sense of awe and respect for You. I yearn for Your wisdom and instruction. Keep me teachable and open to hear Your voice and see Your wonders.

I completely acknowledge You as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. You alone possess the Sovereignty and Authority and Power to rule over and be Lord over all. What an infinite imagination to think up all the combinations of flowers, birds, animals and insects! And not just how they look, but how they sound, and smell! I am amazed by You!

Surely, Eve must have been amazed by You too; walking in the Garden of Eden that You created! Yet she gave in to temptation.   She listened to the serpent and was deceived. (And I’m still blown away that she didn’t seem surprised at all that a serpent was speaking!) When the serpent misquoted You, she did not check it out. And when he told a half-truth, that she would “be like” You, she believed it. She trusted what she understood with her own eyes and logic instead of coming to You.

Father, do not let me make these mistakes. When I hear a voice tempting me with something You have already spoken about, help me remember what You’ve said. If I do not, remind me to come to You for direction. Keep me from rushing to accept what is said without checking it out. Let me be wise to the tactic of using just enough truth to sound right as a scheme to derail me.

Lord, do not let me be misled by falsehoods or half-truths. It is not just the voice of the evil one, but this world and my own flesh that lead me down a wrong path, away from You. Many temptations would lure me to be more or have more than I am, playing into greed or pride, a sense of self-importance, inflated ego, fame or fortune. But as seen here, this temptation was only half true, and had a huge price.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” This sounds like she was being perfectly logical, if it weren’t for the fact that You had already told her it was wrong! Sometimes I can logically think my way into a wrong answer too. Remind me, Father, to come to You, to seek Your perspective above all others. Whether considering an opportunity, or dealing with a hardship: if there seems to be wisdom the world offers, or a logic to my mind, or a sense in my flesh, let me submit them all to You.

And thank You Father, that even when I make mistakes, and sin; as with Adam and Eve, You have shed Your blood and covered me. You have made a way for me to be back in fellowship with You, forever. You are amazing! Amen

Genesis 3:1-24; Proverbs 1:7-9

Dec 25 God in flesh

20161223_231820 (1)Father, John tells of a day when Your wrath will be poured out upon the earth. After the seven seals are broken with their judgments, and the seven trumpets sound with their disasters, then the seven bowls of Your wrath will be given to angels to pour out upon the earth. And then, “out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” 

Your ultimate judgment will be carried out. “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, You who are and who were…true and just are Your judgments.”

I do not know when that day will come. But I trust in Your righteousness. And I trust in Your timing. And if I am alive then, I will rejoice in that day.

Today, however, is a day of a different kind of rejoicing. Although it is not historically accurate, it is the day chosen and set aside to remember and celebrate when You came to earth to bring salvation! It is the day believers all over the world celebrate the day You clothed Yourself in the flesh of a tiny babe. You gave up all the glory and splendor of heaven to be with people here on earth. You submitted Yourself to the frailties of flesh to be an example to everyone, of how to live, and how to love. You brought Your love to earth in a way people could see and follow.

Today: a remembrance and celebration of the love You poured out on earth.

One day in the future: of Your judgment poured out on earth.

I am truly blessed to be alive between the two. I can experience the salvation You brought. I can live in the love You showed, and be inspired to live my life as a reflection of that love.

Father, help me follow Your example. As You poured out Your love and sacrifice, bringing salvation to earth, let me show a bit of that unconditional love to those around me. Let me be show kindness, patience, support, being generous with all You have given to me.

One day You will “Part Your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.  Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.” For now, “You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge”. And I am blessed. Thank You. Amen

Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-8

Dec 9 Blessed is he who reads and hears and heeds

trumpeter-921677_1280Father, I believe “the Day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand…”. You gave Daniel dreams about the end times. You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John. All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same. The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”.

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by, is one day closer. It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars. But there is still time. You desire that all people will ”return to You with all [their] heart”.   Amazing things will happen. There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You. And there will be a new day, with blessings for Your people. And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…” In John’s Revelation, he not only saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” but was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw. And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction”.   And right here, You are giving a revelation!   Father, let me read and hear and heed what You have given here and in the whole of Your Word! Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world. But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all: salvation and eternal life with You! For the alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You. Vengeance is Yours. And You will avenge when the end comes. You are allowing time so all may come to You. And You have sent Your Word so all can know. I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

Father, thank You for giving me Your Word so I will know how to live. Thank You that it usually does keep me from sin. But, if I mess up, thanks to You I have an advocate. Your atoning sacrifice bore the punishment and paid the price, “not only for [my sin], but for the sins of the whole world”.

John writes of how to live here, and also how to love. He says I am to love my brother and sister.   And I am not to love the world or anything in it. These are tall orders.

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Help me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   Some believers in my life have been like “iron sharpening iron”. We hone one another to be better and ‘sharper’. But some are like sandpaper to me. We do not get along, and although they may ‘sand off’ some of the rough spots on me, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt. These people are harder to love. They are the ones I need Your help with. Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly. I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

Not loving the world is also a difficult task. While many things in the world are repulsive and easy to avoid, it was these same three things John mentions here that have drawn people into sin since Adam and Eve.

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes”. The word “lust” here is ‘a strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God’. So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful. It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety. But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites. Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

The third, “the pride of life” represents a moral arrogance or boasting of superior attitude or vanity. The world holds that the one with the best or the most wins. Your economy is different. It is not the elevation of possessions or self that will give me eternal life with You. Help me live a life of obedience to You and humility toward others.

I believe what John says: “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. Do not let me invest in what will pass away, but in what is eternal. Amen

I John 2:1-17

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert. They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed to deliver them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision. They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army. Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst. I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life. And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs”. I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times. What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin. People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You. Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice’ and ‘convenience’. This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life. But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented”. Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country. Forgive, Lord. I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry. Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life. Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!”

Psalm 106:32-48

Nov 7 New Covenant for Eternity

dawn eternityFather, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration. You made a way of atonement for them. Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people. You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are. We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant. What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come. You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices. What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest! You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow. The reality of what made the shadow of the old covenant, is when You, Yourself became my High Priest when You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people”. It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me! I have You in me, as the Holy Spirit.

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me! Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly. Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example of worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle. I long for the day when I will see You in all Your glory. When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord. And I will praise You forever! Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

Nov 4 Trust the plan

sky-414199_640Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile. And when You brought judgment on the remnant.   You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

You had a plan when You visited the ten plagues on the Egyptians. You could see into their hearts and used them as a tool of deliverance for Your people there.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well. Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect. But I completely trust You. You may not give me visions like Ezekiel. You may not exile me from my home. You may not use another nation to exact my liberation. But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it. Lord, open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You want me to know. Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to. Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in one direction that may or may not be Yours. Help me to let go of what I think I should be doing for You. Let me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You. Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21; Psalm 105:16-36

Oct 30 Great is Your Faithfulness

Father, Jeremiah continues here, not only beginning each stanza with successive letters of the Hebrew alephbet, but each verse within the stanza begins with the same letter! Still, the outpouring of the description of all this suffering continues. There are vivid word pictures and comparisons that describe personal devastation.

hai-hoa-beach-2162144_640Yet, in the middle of all of this, come the words fashioned into a famous hymn. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Even in the midst of the punishment, Jeremiah reflects on Your goodness. And instructs the people: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say; ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’.”  It’s the same today. Father, You seek the lost and the rebellious. You still hold out salvation for them. They need only come to You.

But there will be a time when it is too late. When You will surely punish.

O Father, turn the hardened hearts back to You before it is too late! In Jeremiah’s day, You spoke through prophets. But now You speak through Yourself. You walked the earth as Jesus Christ. There are people who are heavy on my heart now, who need You. Speak to these who need You in their lives. Show me how to encourage them toward You without being harassing or pushy. Bring someone into their lives who they will listen to. Use circumstances in their lives to get their attention directed to You. Convict their hearts that they need a Savior. Draw back the veil of lies and deceit they have been believing. Or they will “walk in darkness rather than the light”…they will be “dragged from the path and mangled and left without help”.

Your love for them is clear. Your compassion is renown. Your faithfulness is great. I rely on all these Lord, and totally trust in You! Amen

Lamentations 3:1-66; Hebrews 1:1-4

 

Oct 27 Yours is the power

lightning-bolt-768801_640“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.  When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from You storehouses.”

You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.

Father, You are the One. You are the Only. You are forever my Creator and Savior. And no one and no thing can stand against You. No power, ruler, authority. Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it. What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns”!!! “Let the nations tremble”!!! Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth. Nothing will be able to stand against You. And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon. And You delivered. But You had an even greater deliverance in mind. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all. And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”.

Father, You purified me with Your blood. You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live. Help me live as Yours. Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-53; Psalm 99:1-9

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me. But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people. What a huge task! It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet! For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

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As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people. So I pray first for all children. Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them. Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You. Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse. Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You. Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.  Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.  Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, I ask that You would give every mother a heart for her child. Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; to teach them about You. Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father. Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family. Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love. Do not let them harm or exasperate their children. Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are. Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion. Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers. Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it. Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence. Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces. Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry. Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, or people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You. Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives. Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them. Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability. If they are persecuting believers, stop them. Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You. Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives. Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected officials in Washington DC, children in Africa, women in Afghanistan, the people of Thailand. All need Your touch on their lives. Every one is someone special to You. Every one is someone You died to save. Let each one of them know how very much You love them. And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives. Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

Oct 15 Call us back to You

Father, even now, You give Words to Jeremiah for the people’s salvation. Your mercy is so great that even after all they have done, You will spare them, if only they will turn back to You. This is Your heart. That Your people will do the right thing. That they will love You, and return to You. That they will turn away from the things that are bringing them harm and death, and turn to You to receive life!

They had Your Word. It had been found in the Temple when Josiah, King of Judah had the Temple repaired. It caused a major revival in the young King. And in the people too, for a time. But Josiah’s son, who came next, was not a godly king. And the pull of idolatry was strong. And Your Word was not readily available to the people, so they relied on the leaders and priests to lead them. Unfortunately, the priests had been doing their own thing for so long, most were not familiar with or devoted to Your Word.

Father, I have loved ones who are also pretty much doing their own thing. Yet You are calling them back to You with that same heart, wanting them to come to You and receive life. My world is full of all kinds of idolatry, and the pull is strong. Father, send someone into their lives who they will listen to. Help them let go of the things that are causing them harm and leading them to death.

And let my faith be as strong as Jeremiah’s. Even in the face of threatened death, He stood strong in knowing You were there. You had told him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” And “Do not be terrified…they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.” Father, those words are for me too. And just as You knew Jeremiah, even before he was born, You also know me. Just as You rescued him, You have rescued me.

Lord, evil was alive and well in Judah, and also when You walked the earth, it is alive and well in my time, and in my country. I echo Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: Father, “deliver [me] from wicked and evil people…strengthen and protect [me] from the evil one…direct [my] heart into Your love and perseverance”. Father, strengthen me to “never tire of doing what is good”.

You are the Lord of peace. Father, I so need Your peace. From my own doubts in understanding Your direction for my life, to relationships that are not all they could be, to the direction my country and the world seem to be heading. Would You “give me peace at all times and in every way”.   I cling to You. And look to You. Only Your peace satisfies. Amen

Jeremiah 1:5,17,19; 26:1-27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return! You bring reward to Your people. You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

 

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future. And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth. Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track. I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences. They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values. And I wonder: Do You see? Do You see what is happening in Your world? The one You created so carefully? So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises. I trust Your plan. And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel,  and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.” Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You! Thank You! Amen

Isaiah 62:6- 65:25; Psalm 73:1-28

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

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Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways”. Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest. And was not acceptable to You. You told them how to behave to be blessed. Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You. And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord. My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me. I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way. That sounds a lot like ‘sinful greed’ and ‘willful ways’. But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word. The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray. I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving. Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.” As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me. So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You! I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit. Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me. Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise! I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go”.   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge”. Thank You for these Words You sent me through David. I can almost use them word for word to praise You. They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express. Thank You that You are my God. Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

Sept 27 the Price of Salvation

Father, sometimes I forget all You went through in order for me to have salvation and be back in right standing and in right relationship with You. It’s so easy to focus on my own problems and all the things that are falling short of my hopes for me, and my family members. It must sound like childish whining compared to what You endured for my sake.

cross-106416_640Isaiah tells me You were “despised and rejected…a man of suffering, familiar with pain…You took up our pain and bore our suffering…were pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on You, and by Your wounds, we are healed.” And the infamous words: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and The Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.”

So it was my doing that brought You to the place of suffering. You endured betrayal, beating, whipping, scourging, unbelievable pain, unbearable suffering, and crucifixion on a cross; all so I can be healed of my sin – choosing my own way.

I am so humbled. And so ashamed. And so very grateful. Thank You for enduring all You did, for me. Remind me every time I start to whine, or complain about my own problems, that in comparison, they are light and temporary trials. Thank You that even with all You went through for me, You still love me. You still care for me. Remind me to approach You – not with an attitude of greediness, but with one of gratefulness.

In proving Your love so completely, I can only have faith, that whatever I face now, You will deliver me, in Your own providential, miraculous or mysterious way. I believe that what You say You will do, You are able and capable to do. I completely trust in Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are my Father, my Savior, my King. Amen

Isaiah 53:3-12

Sept 18 Always Your Child

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Father, thank You for making me Your heir. Thank You for sending Your Spirit into my heart so I can call out “Abba, Father”.

 

 

Just like with my earthly parents, my position as their child will never change. I may move far away from them, or be upset with them, or they with me, but I will always be their child. The quality of our relationship may have its ups and downs. So the quality of our fellowship may fluctuate, but my position as their child will never change.

You have given to me the full rights of being Your child and Your heir. As such; “My salvation comes from You…My soul finds rest in You alone…You alone are my Rock, my fortress…I will never be shaken.”

Things may happen to me that shake my confidence in other people, in circumstances, in things I have come to depend on, even in myself. But in You I will always find hope. I will always be able to rest in Your abundant provision and security. I will always know that even if I cannot understand, that Your purpose and Your plan will not be thwarted. Many words describe safe places here on earth: refuge, fortress, tower, stronghold. These are solid, unshakable places where people run for safety. These are the exact words scripture uses to describe You! Father, You are all these and more. In You I can be shielded, I am protected, I am safe.

When needed, I can pour out my heart to You. You listen. And You comfort. You give me wisdom. And encourage me. Lord, give me Your wisdom now. Let me see Your perspective on the difficulties and challenges in my life now. I am resting in You, and I am hopeful. Show me the next step I should take. Do not let me get ahead of Your plan or Your timing.  Give me the patience I need to see Your blessing come into fruition.

I trust You. I know that “You are strong, and that You are loving.” I will wait with You, my Father. Amen

Galatians 3:23-4:31; Psalm 62:1-12

Sept 15 Blessings: Old and New

Father, I thank You that You sent evangelists out both to the Jews and to the Gentiles of the time. Although the backgrounds of the two were different, and still are today, You offer salvation to both. One is not better than the other, as all Believers are equal in Christ Jesus.

Father, would You help present day Jews to see the truth of the salvation You offer, apart from their culture. Help them come to a saving knowledge of who You are, and bring them into a personal relationship with You through Jesus Christ.

And would You also show non-Jewish Believers the value and blessing to be had in the Tanakh: our Old Testament. For although the Law You gave Moses is not the basis of salvation, that it is by grace through faith in You, there is blessing for everyone in that Law, for instance in observing the Sabbath, and honoring our parents.

In fact, Father, what are known as the Ten Commandments, plus other Jewish writings contains things that were spoken by You to be ‘Divine empowerments’ that would release me from bondage to sin and bring me blessing. Too often the groups look at each other with misunderstanding and throw out even the good that would bless them. Father, teach me to embrace Your whole truth, and live according to it.

You are my God – who delivers me, who protects me, who arises to help me against whatever enemies come against me. “You are my Strength… my fortress, my loving God.” Old Testament and New are filled with pictures of You, of Your strength, Your character. Let me revel in the whole entirety of my Savior. I sing Your praises! Amen

Galatians 2:1-16; Psalm 59:1-17

May 5 to save You reach around the world

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Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose. You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.   She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman, something a respectable Jew would not have done. And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation. Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family. Wherever I was, You were there with me, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado. All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me. Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God. But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them. You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known. You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring my loved ones who I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part. I can pray for them. I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad. I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.   Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You. Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You. Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name! Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

May 2 All His benefits

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“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

O Lord, if I took a whole day, I could never list all the benefits You lavish on me. I take so many things for granted. Often I don’t even think about how every breath that I take is from You! And I should be thankful.

Beginning when I wake up in the morning, I am thankful that I do wake up! And that I can breathe clean air in a warm bed, in a secure house, with a family I love, with food to eat and clean water to drink and bathe in. I have more clothes in my closet than some people on this planet ever own in a lifetime! I have many pairs of shoes. It is a choice for me to eat breakfast or not. And if I choose to eat, I have several options of clean, untainted food in a kitchen with running water and convenient appliances to make food preparation almost effortless. My fridge keeps my food cold to preserve its freshness until I want it. Then, at the turn of a switch or the push of a button, I can cook it. Another button and my dishes are washed.

Just this part of my day is blessed far more than most of the people on this earth.

I live in freedom to be what I want to be, go where I want to go, with whom I want to be with. I can choose my career, my husband, my entertainment. I can worship You in the open however I want, read scripture without fear of arrest or imprisonment. I can attend public church services without being detained and beaten, or having my property seized, or my life forfeited.

When I step outside my house, I see a beautiful sky, majestic mountains, flowering trees, gorgeous flowers. We have warm, rainy, windy Springs, temperate Summers, gorgeously colored, cool Falls, and crisp, snow covered Winters – all four seasons in a beautiful and varied environment rich with birds of many kinds, singing their Spring songs and migrating south in the Fall.

On top of all this, You preserve my life, forgive my sins, deliver me from the oppression and deceit of satan. You show me love I did not earn, and pour out mercy and compassion on me I do not deserve. You satisfy my desires with good things, or remove those wrongful desires from me. You answer my prayers, guide me with Your wisdom, encourage me with Your Word, and have promised to take me into paradise with You for all eternity.

Father, help me remember every day to thank You for something. Open my eyes to things I take for granted, and accept my praise for Your goodness. Remind me at the beginning of every month, to come back and read Psalm 103 and spend time “forgetting not, all of Your benefits”. Amen

Psalm 103

May 1 I believe

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“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves! You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You. You are the Only Way. Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware. You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God. He saw that Spirit rest on You and could then know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John. They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed. Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save. But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call. It is my choice to accept Your salvation or reject it. I hear Your call and follow You. I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation. But, there are so many who do not. Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin. That penalty is death, eternal separation from You. You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John. Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples. Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible. Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them. Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation. And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You. Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I can’t wait! Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 2 Lord of the harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding. I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant. As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier. When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest. You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom. People grow and mature also. You ‘harvest’ us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord. When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news. One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged. It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the ‘harvesting’.

Father, help me to be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them. Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest. Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”kneeling-1989128_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence. He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again. There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure. There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware were things I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior. And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty, my sin had earned. He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver. And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like. The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life. He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust. He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me. He has forgiven my sin. He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds! How great is His power! Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me. Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers. Yet sin continued, with more sacrifices being made as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth. You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Mar 8 Only You

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Thank You for having mercy on me O Lord. Thank You for withholding from me the penalty that my sins deserve. I praise You that Your mercies are new every morning; that You are not like a human, who would reach a limit of forgiveness or loving kindness.

I am so fortunate that I am not dependent on my own goodness or ability to ‘earn’ any kind of favor from You, but that I am at the mercy of Your great, unfailing love and boundless compassion.

Because of this, Lord, You blot out my transgressions, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from all my sin. And because Your love for me is so great, You only show me what I can bear at any given time. Your Holy Spirit convicts my heart, but does not condemn me.

I will be cleansed only when You cleanse me. Only You have this power.   You can wash me whiter than the pure, sparkling snow.

You do not desire legalism or jumping through hoops to earn forgiveness; but desire my own recognition of my sin, and my true repentance.

Father, I ask You to do a work in me and purify my heart. Renew a spirit in me that will not give way to these sins again.  That way, when I do sin, it will break my heart and make me aware immediately, so I can turn from it and return to You. Return the joy of Your salvation to me Lord, and all that it means.

I am ever grateful for Your forgiveness, for Your cleansing, so I can again be in Your presence. I open my mouth and declare that all blessing and honor are due You. To You I give all glory, all praise, all thanks. Yours is the power and strength forever. Amen

Psalm 51:1-19; Revelation 7:12

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

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What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan! You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life. He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God. When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright”, that “Your ways are loving and faithful”. And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame”. Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13; Psalm 25:1-15

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans! Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will! I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of bringing Your will into our lives.

Whether in slavery or in prison, Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants. Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You, again, had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning, it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

Even when Jesus tried to explain Your majestic plan for the salvation of all people -His disciples didn’t understand it. Peter said to Jesus “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus had to rebuke him.

Even after Peter saw Jesus transfigured and walking with Moses and Elijah, and heard Your own voice saying “This is My Son…Listen to Him.” Peter tried to interfere as Jesus was taken into custody in the Garden of Gethsemane. If he had understood the whole plan, would he have done that?

I often cannot make sense of the twists and turns my life takes. There are times I don’t know whether to stay or go, to act or wait. I cannot see how things will play out but I make a plan. Even when I think I can, it doesn’t always turn out the way I expect. How many times do we switch to Plan B, or Plan C, or D,E,F…

How then do I make decisions? Move forward? Live my life?

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan. I trust that Your plan is the best one for me – a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

I trust You. My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe. Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition. So let it be done. On this earth. In this country. In my life. Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7; Jeremiah 29:11